Today’s news:

Alumni rally to save Rock. Beach school

It is being pegged for closure after June, but alumni of Stella Maris High School have launched an effort to save the all-girls Catholic school.

The 66-year-old high school in Rockaway Beach is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, whose board announced Oct. 19 that the school will close in June 2010.

“The main problem is enrollment,” said Stella Maris Principal Geri Martinez in an e-mail message. “We have a freshman class of 48 and a sophomore class of 51. I have a wonderful faculty who have worked very hard with administration to increase our enrollment.”

Martinez said some of the school’s alumni had a meeting about saving the school.

Theresa McCann, the alumna heading the effort, could not be reached for comment.

The Catholic school currently serves about 400 students — all of them girls.

“The decision to close is heartbreaking,” Martinez said. “I truly believe that the closing of Stella Maris HS is a great loss to education and young women. We have provided students of all academic levels a very fine education, while at the same time providing an atmosphere of deep concern and caring for each of their lives.”

“We are sad to see that end, but we know that all the present students of Stella Maris, parents and graduates will forever hold dear their fond memories of friends and family at Stella Maris,” said Martinez.

If the school were to close as scheduled, the closest Catholic high school for pupils who enrolled at Stella Maris from Howard Beach is Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

Christ the King said last Thursday that its board of trustees voted to honor any scholarship commitments made by Stella Maris to students who choose to go to Christ the King.

“The board of trustees wishes the parents and students of Stella Maris much success in their search for a high school to complete their education,” the school said in a statement.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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